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Sex without love

I’ve been working on a paranormal short for TEB this month. It’s going well, but the first chapter presented me with a scenario which was completely new to me as an erotic romance writer – a sex scene between a couple in a loveless relationship.

In fact, while they’re together for reasons which fit the plot, they don’t even like each other much.

This was a tough one for me. My sex scenes have always involved emotion, even when the characters refuse to admit their feelings – that’s one of the things that makes what I write erotic romance, after all. So how best to write a scene between two people who don’t give a damn about each other and still make it erotic?

One method I plan to use at a later point is to have her thinking about someone else (the ultimate love interest). But right now the purpose of the scene is to show the relationship dynamic between these two, which is utterly dispassionate. I often use wordplay in scenes to show rising excitement, but other than the odd "yeah" this couple barely interact.

In the end I focussed on pure physical pleasure. My heroine drifts into her own head, slides a hand down and gets herself off. I think it works, but it'll never be my favourite way of writing.

What does everyone else do in this situation?


Lisabet Sarai said...

Hello, Tanith,

Are they attracted to one another? Because occasionally chemistry turns out to be totally irrational - you're really turned on by someone whom you don't even like.

I do think you run the risk of losing readers with a scene like this, though. One of my books includes some sex scenes with a guy who is definitely not the right man for the protagonist (this is M/M). The purpose is to allow the hero to see what he really wants and needs - but I got negative comments from reviewers.

Good luck!

Tanith Davenport said...

It's complicated - they were once, but now it's more a business relationship (which makes her sound like a prostitute, but she isn't!)

Fortunately this is the only scene of that nature in the story, so hopefully it won't prove to be too problematic.

Nicole Morgan said...

Hello Tanith...

I agree with Lisabet, sometimes chemistry makes no sense. They may not interact with one another but there is something there, otherwise there would be no interlude. Sometimes only one person can fulfill someone's elemental needs, their innermost passions. It's a tough predicament but I have faith in you. :)